March 6, 2018
JESUS WATCHES THE OFFERINGS
Jesus sat near the Temple collection box so that He might watch who was giving and how much they were giving. He did this to illustrate a lesson to His disciples. As they witnessed the rich tossing handfuls of coins into the collection box, the heavy coins made a loud metallic sound as they rattled down the trumpet like opening of the Temple treasury. Surely everyone nearby could hear when the rich gave. Then, a poor widow carefully dropped in two small coins. They barely made a sound as they rolled into the treasury.
Christ’s teaching on this scene was that while the rich seemed to be giving a lot, it was in fact only a tiny part of their surplus. But the poor widow quietly gave all that she had.
Yet, there is another lesson here that Christ gave not by words, but by behavior. Christ is interested in our giving. He watches our generosity. He cares about our giving, how much we give and what motivates our giving. Therefore, when we give, we shouldn’t care whether others are watching, only that Jesus is watching.
March 4, 2018
HAVE YOU NOT READ THE SCRIPTURES?
Jesus questioned whether the religious leaders and teachers had read a particular Scripture from Psalm 118 concerning the stone the builders rejected. Even as they rejected Jesus, His question pointed them to the biblical prophecy which predicted their rejection. Shouldn’t biblical evidence have changed their view of Him? It should have, but it didn’t. Their view of Jesus was not based on a study of the Scriptures, but on their own political interests.
Believers today, especially those that are called to be teachers and preachers of the Bible, must be careful to base their lives, teachings and sermons on the Bible itself. Human opinion has no authority or power. Only God’s Word can be trusted. But it must be read, studied and taught with the illumination of the Holy Spirit in order to be understood and applied.
In an age when most of us have a Bible in every room and access to dozens of translations online, what an embarrassing question it would be to hear from the lips of Jesus! “Have you not read the Scriptures?”
March 6, 2016
Jesus “watched” to see who was putting money into the Temple offering box. His observation is notable. He not only sees the amount of the gift, but He sees the heart of the giver. The rich that gave out of their “abundance” would be most impressive to others, but the widow who gave out of her “poverty,” most impressed Jesus. For she gave all that she had. Jesus still watches our giving. He is still looking for one that would entrust all that they have to Him.
March 4, 2016
What is a “parable?” The word parable is from the root word “paraballo” or in the Greek “parabole.” This compound word comes from “para” which means “to come along side or compare” and “ballo” which literally means “to throw.” So, a “parable” is a simple story that stands “alongside” another story and “throws” towards, or points towards, a deeper meaning.
To whom was this parable directed? The chief priests, scribes and elders who had come questioning His authority.
What was this parable’s meaning? The “vineyard” pointed to Israel and the “winepress,” to the temple. The “tenants” were those chief priests, scribes and elders that the owner had left in charge. The “servants” who the owner sent were the prophets. And of course, the son of the owner, that the tenants killed, was Jesus. With this parable, Jesus was actually answering their earlier question concerning by what authority he acted. He was telling them that He was the Son of God and predicting that they would reject and kill Him. And that because of this rejection they would suffer God’s judgment.
He answered them with a parable. But they didn’t understand.
March 5, 2015
This was a devastating critique of the Sadducees’ theology by Jesus. They affirmed only the books of Moses and denied the resurrection of the dead. Jesus declared them wrong on both. There are many today who claim to be teachers and theologians that Jesus would stand against because they dismiss the Bible and deny the resurrection. Do you know and believe the Bible? Do you look forward to the resurrection? What would Jesus think of your theology?
March 4, 2015
Even Christ’s enemies “marveled at Him” when He answered their question about paying taxes. Jesus displayed amazing wisdom with such brevity and fulness (“Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”). He wasted not a single word, yet fully responded to their complex question. Reading the gospels, one cannot help but realize the otherworldliness of Jesus. Both His humanity and divinity are on full display. There is no other like Jesus. Whether one believes or rejects Him, no one who encounters the Christ of the gospels can help but “marvel at Him.”